Comparison the efficacy of phonophoresis and ultrasound therapy in myofascial pain syndrome


The aim of this study is to compare the effect of phonophoresis, ultrasound and placebo ultrasound therapies in the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). This is a randomized, double-blind placebo controlled study. Sixty patients (48 women, 12 men, mean age 37.9 ± 12.2 years) with MPS were included in this study. Patients were allocated into three groups. Group 1(n = 20) was received diclofenac phonophoresis, group 2(n = 20) was received ultrasound and group 3(n = 20) was received placebo ultrasound therapies over trigger points, 10 min a day for 15 session during 3 weeks (1 MHz-1,5 watt/cm2). Additionally, all patients were given neck exercise program including isotonic, isometric and stretching. Patients were assessed by means of pain, range of motion (ROM) of neck, number of trigger points (NTP), algometric measurement and disability. Pain severity was measured by visual analog scale (VAS) and Likert scale. The neck pain disability index (NPDI) was used for assessing disability. Measurements were taken before and after treatment. After treatment, there were statistically significant improvements in pain severity, NTP, pressure pain threshold (PPT), ROM and NPDI scores both in phonophoresis and in ultrasound therapy groups (P < 0.05). Statistically significant increase in cervical lateral flexion and rotation was observed in the placebo US group. While there was no statistically significant improvement in the cervical flexion–extension joint movement, pain levels, number of trigger points and NPDI score, pressure pain threshold (P > 0.05), also there were no significant differences in all parameters between group 1 and 2 (P = 0.05). Both diclofenac phonophoresis and ultrasound therapy were effective in the treatment of patients with MPS. Phonophoresis was not found to be superior over ultrasound therapy.

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Correspondence to Saime Ay.

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Ay, S., Doğan, Ş.K., Evcik, D. et al. Comparison the efficacy of phonophoresis and ultrasound therapy in myofascial pain syndrome. Rheumatol Int 31, 1203–1208 (2011).

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  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Phonophoresis
  • Ultrasound